IFA Farm Forestry Chairman Vincent Nally said the Cabinet decision to amend the Agricultural Appeals Act must deliver efficiency in the forestry appeals system that makes it fit for purpose.
“Farmers with a crop to harvest have become very frustrated with the appeals system and the backlog,” he said.
Mr. Nally said that farmers must have confidence that an appeal will be heard within a defined timeframe so they can manage their forest sustainably.
“The financial and emotional costs, as a result of the delays in the forestry appeals system, should not be underestimated,” he said.
Farmers can be waiting over two years to get their licence approved only for it to be then appealed, where it could take a further two years for their case to be heard.
“The system is not fit for purpose, and if not amended, it will have a significant impact on the immediate wood supply, and on future wood supply from farm forests,” he said.
There is over a million cubic metres of wood caught up in the backlog. This represents a lot of income for farmers, not to mention the thousands of rural jobs that are supported through the mobilisation and processing of this indigenous product.
Farmers need a forestry appeal system that will issue decisions in a defined timescale so they can manage their forest effectively and protect the value of their investment.